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Port check

I have been asked by the Oncology department to post a question.  They had a recent patient who was ordered 2 separate chemo infusions to running continuously for 24 hours.  They wanted to know how often they were suppose to check the implanted port for blood return.  The oncology manual just states "per your hospital policy" of which we don't have one regarding that particular situation.  I looked in the INS manual and it just talks about verifing blood return initially, but doesn't say anything for after the initial check.  Does anyone have any information on this?  Thanks

I have never seen any

I have never seen any research recommending a specific time interval for these checks during continuous infusions. Due to the risk of exposure to the chemo and contamination of the set, I would never recommend disconnection of the line to check for blood return. You can check by attaching a syringe to the set and aspirating but that also could increase the exposure to the hazardous drugs and risk introducing bugs. I think a common method is to do a thorough assessment of the port before the infusion is begun. I think the site must be assessed frequently by looking at the dressing and port needle for any and all signs and symptoms of all complications, preferably at least every 2 hours. Then a repeat check of the blood return done if there are any problems such as pump alarms, discomfort of any kind, difficulties with infusion of any kind, etc. Just a suggestion but no evidence to support this. This is one of those areas without any research so the standards and guidelines are based on expert opinion simply because that is all there is. Lynn

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

126 Main Street, PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

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